First Steps to Pro: i-Racing or Kart Racing?

I just read about the Skip Barber i-Racing championship valued at $500,000 with the winner getting a fully sponsored ride in the Skip Barber Formula Car Series. One of the winners of the Barber i-Racing went on to win 2 Skip Barber Championships.

It seems to me that i-Racing levels the playing field by equalizing equipment combined with significantly lower costs than karting, which opens up the pool of racers and should come up with better racers. Any thoughts on this?

I racing seems like a better step to pro for normal people. Normal people cant afford to go pro on their own dollar through karting.
There are many Simracing competitions where the winners get a free ride for a season in cars, and VERY few karting competitions where winning leads to free anything
But that’s just what I see.

I would put sim racing on the bottom of the ladder. It for sure lower the entry cost of motorsports, and help to pool more people in which helps to find super talented driver. I still believe karting is one of the necessary step for most of people, physical and money is just two part that you cannot get away with it.

Few things first :

  • It is simracing and esports, not Eracing :grin:
  • It is iRacing, not i-Racing :grin:

In my opinion, kids need a combination of both. I would suggest to do some regional racing in Karting to keep the cost down, but still be able to race IRL, and race on iRacing as much as possible, with somebody to coach the kid ASAP


What do I know. I’m 70 and old school. I do all my racing in a real environment and no sim racing.

Is sim racing a threat to the karting industry?

I doubt it, after all if it can’t hurt you it’s just a game.


I doubt that you’ll get the same adrenaline high or whatever drives us to race. Think about virtual sky diving and actual sky diving.

Question what is the right adjective/ modifier for “real” racing?

When I am done kart racing I am going to have an incredible sim racing rig. When it is a close battle I still get that rush. Not to the same extent as a real race but I get pumped…my heart races…I sweat…super disappointed if I lose. I can get into any car, at any track in the world…and if I am good enough I will race against the best in the world. But I won’t have to replace a motor, tires, parts…slam a wall. And I will still make dinner with the Mrs.

There is no competition in virtual skydiving. That is the real difference. I don’t get a rush racing against the computer. I get a rush racing online against real people knowing I am making them so mad on the other end because they can’t catch me! Or pushing them into making a mistake.


Sim racing can be just as adrenaline inducing. My heart rate gets up to 170 sometimes playing iRacing. There are things sims cannot replicate or train for, but they can get quite a bit of the fundamentals of racing, if you’re using it as a training tool to move up the ladder.

There have been a ton of discussions on here comparing sim racing and karting, so I think I’ve said my piece on this a dozen times or so.

20 characters.


It’s not a versus.

IMO it’s down to the individual’s unique situation and leveraging whatever you can as it always has been.

If you have the budget, focus on real life since you can do go that route and there are countless teams/opportunities available that will take your money…. and simming will be a drop in the well costs wise anyway.

If you lack coin, can give simming a a shot but understand that the opportunities are much less numerous and you’re competing against more people.


Oddly, sim racing is waaaaaaaaay and I mean way more stressful than irl. I don’t know why.

In fact, I have deliberately avoided it for about a week.

I think this is at the heart of it. There’s a fundamental lack of trust in sim. I expect that it’s gonna be war-like most of the time and that folks gonna do things, terrible things, in sim. Part of the stress comes from “why are you putting us in this situation? Cmon man let’s work this race and both finish well”. Instead, there’s the dumb send.

This usually isn’t the case irl.

(Oliver races notwithstanding. Perspective of old man racing, I guess).

I think that what matters more than where you start (sim vs IRL), is what comes after starting; your work ethic, your goals, and how you manage your progression to those goals.

  • Putting the work into fully understanding the task of driving
  • Setting demanding goals for performance and improvement
  • Always demanding the maximum from yourself, and holding yourself accountable to that
  • Putting the effort into troubleshooting and fixing any issues you may encounter
  • Being honest with yourself when you make mistakes, or fail to meet objectives, and then doing whatever it takes to understand and fix the issue

These are the things (the mindset) that will fuel your performance and drive continuous improvement. They can, and should, be applied to any type of racing. This is how/why the fast sim guys got fast, and the fast IRL guys got fast. Even if someone has daddy’s cash to go racing on IRL, the checkbook can’t drive the car, and it will be quickly apparent if there is a race car driver, or a racer behind the wheel. :wink:

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I am so with you on that. I just had my most stressful day since sim racing. I try to boost my SR on Sunday before the season ends, I raced till 10pm and managed to tank both my iRating and SR. Most of the situation is like I follow people laps after laps trying to go for a clean pass, then people in the back caught up and boot me from the back.

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“I raced till 10pm”

Probably the real reason to avoid.

That was indeed a bad call, I was only 0.05 away, it is so close, but so far away.

I believe that sim racing will actually help Karting, it’s cool to have a good rig and can drive around whenever you want, but there’s still the ‘danger’ factor that’s missing. I think of simracing as a gateway to IRL motor sports… Our local indoor karting track’s league night attendance has been steadily growing and growing this last year because people want to do what they see in video games and on TV. Now, Race Karting is a tad more expensive than rental karting so wether or not the rental karting league nights turn drivers in to race karters we will have to see… if the indoor track can get ~10% of sim racers out and then outdoor can get even ~5% of those indoor otters out. That’s still a positive gain.

So, I don’t think that simracing is eating in to karting, if anything I think that it’s feeding in to it. Almost like there’s a natural progression now.

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